Traveling while African and trying to appease the visa gods

Airline officials assured me that all I needed to do was get my one-day transit visa for Turkey from a little machine. The first question on the screen read “Are you a citizen of the USA, UK, Germany, France… Chile, South Africa?”

 I am a Kenyan citizen.
 “Are you holding a valid visa for USA, UK, Germany… Chile, South Africa?”
 Uhhmm. No. I am generally issued 10-day visas, two-week visas, one-month visas for certain countries if I am very lucky.

The next message on the screen read, “Unfortunately you are not eligible for a transit visa.” Just like that, I realized that my Turkey experience would be lived at the airport. I got back to the information counter sad at the realization that a valid Chilean visa was more readily accepted than my Kenyan passport.

 I was led to a huge football stadium of a bedroom—filled with other black people, brown people, and some Arabs – those of us passport undesirables. I was shown my makeshift bed, given a pillow and a thin blanket. “You can stay here ’til your flight, tomorrow.”

It made me think of all the indignities I and so many other Africans suffer at the hands of immigration officials. (…)

Source : African visa problems while traveling around Europe, South America and the US. — Quartz


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